APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FIRST CIRCUIT (CR. NO. 11-1-0523)
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Foley, J.
FOR PUBLICATION IN WEST'S HAWAII REPORTS AND PACIFIC REPORTER
NAKAMURA, C.J., FOLEY AND FUJISE JJ.
OPINION OF THE COURT BY FOLEY, J.
Plaintiff-Appellant State of Hawaii (State) appeals from the Judgment of Conviction and Sentence entered October 5, 2011 in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit*fn1 (circuit court).
On April 18, 2011, Defendant-Appellee Rubin Ikoa Casugay-Badiang (Casugay-Badiang) was charged with two counts of Methamphetamine Trafficking in the Second Degree, in violation of Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) § 712-1240.8 (Supp. 2011).*fn2
On July 26, 2011, Casugay-Badiang pled guilty to both counts. The applicable penalty for each count was an indeterminate term of ten years of imprisonment, a mandatory minimum term of one to four years of imprisonment, and up to a $10,000,000 fine.
Sentencing was held on October 5, 2011. Defense counsel stated that he understood the sentences for Casugay- Badiang's offenses were mandatory, but asked the circuit court to exercise its discretion with respect to the mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment, and sentence Casugay-Badiang to one-year mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment. The State concurred with Casugay-Badiang's position that one-year mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment were appropriate, inasmuch as Casugay- Badiang had "a clean record, no other arrests[,]" and admitted to selling methamphetamine because he had a drug problem. Rather than sentencing Casugay-Badiang to a mandatory one-year imprisonment and maximum ten years of imprisonment pursuant to HRS § 712-1240.8, the circuit court sentenced Casugay-Badiang as a young adult offender to a maximum term of imprisonment of five years pursuant to HRS § 706-667 (Supp. 2011).*fn3 The court stated:
Okay. Um, sometimes, Counsel, the court asks you to indulge the court whether you want to or not. Just by way of editorializing here, you, I look at this PSI, this young man was all of 19 years old when he committed these offenses and he only 20 now. He just turned 20 several months ago.
He has absolutely no record. He has no juvie record. He has no adult record. Now he's young, but he has no record, no arrests, nothing, except for this.
And I understand why the legislature did what they did in 2006. They're a political body, and, you know, there's no question that ice was really and still is a scourge on this community. And there were TV reports and lots of media and, you, so they reacted like politicians do.
And I'm not faulting them. But you know, I look at this PSI and I look at this young man and then I look at the fact that they took away all discretion from the court, you know, and they mandated an open ten and a mandatory minimum and a fine and all of this.
And again I say I understand it, but I don't think it's right. Uh, I think that's what the courts are for. I think that's why we should have some ...